The US Department of Education has introduced a new online tool this year that will prove beneficial in the planning stages for student who are trying to compare school costs, as well as decide how they will pay for their college costs.
FAFSA4caster can provide an estimate of federal student aid eligibility by quickly calculating your EFC (Expected Family Contribution). This program will then determine what type of federal aid (grants, work-study, and loans) you are eligible for and also will provide an estimated amount of these awards.
This tool could be incredibly useful for parents of younger students who would like to receive early estimates of aid, project future scenarios of aid based on expected income, and establish college savings strategies. Current college students can also use this tool to determine how much aid they should receive before they actually apply. In addition, some of the information submitted on the FAFSA4caster, will automatically populate into the actual FAFSA when you submit it.
You can access this tool at www.FederalStudentAid.ed.gov